Saturday, April 01, 2017

Today in Comics History, April 1, 2X23: Two-fisted drinking is invented

from The Fuse #16 (Image, November 2015), script by Antony Johnston, pencils and inks by Justin Greenwood, colors by Shari Chankhamma, letters by Ryan Ferrier

Today in Comics History, April 1, 2999: 1990s multiple pouches make a sudden fashion comeback one thousand years later

from Superman Forever one-shot (DC, June 1998), script by Dan Jurgens, pencils by Paul Ryan, inks by Dennis Janke, colors by Glenn Whitmore, color separations by Digital Chameleon, letters by Albert DeGuzman

365 Days of Defiance, Day 91: Events like these are occurring right now on Capitol Hill

...well, maybe not exactly like this, but metaphorically pretty close, because here's Usurper President Benedict Arnold stringing Batgirl and Robin from a gallows and forcing them to solve The Prisoner's Dilemma:

Panels from "The Invader from Hell!" in Batman Family #1 (September-October 1975), script by Elliot S! Maggin, pencils and inks by Mike Grell

To quote another great American statesman, Haw haw! Barbara and Dick have worked together to defeat the deathtrap, both simultaneously sacrificing themselves but saving each other through cooperation. Now that's a team-up!

All your carefully constructed plans are now scrambled eggs, Benedict! And even our mysterious villain — could it be...Satan? (Yes.) — agrees that you can't fight the American Spirit! Especially when the American Spiurit is encased in purple spandex and little green pants.

This is the canonical first Batgirl/Robin team-up. "How did you and Dick meet, Barbara?" "Well, we fought the ghost of American traitor Benedict Arnold, who was brought back to life by Satan wearing a hastily inked g-string." "Ha ha ha ha! No, really, please!" "Um...we met on Tinder."

The Pre-Crisis DC Universe: There's no stopping us now from printing stories about The Devil and Benedict Arnold fighting Batgirl and Robin™.

Today in Comics History, April 1: First appearance, Fake-Ass Mr. Mxyzptlk of Earth-57780

from "There's No Fool Like an April Fool" in Spidey Super Stories #10 (Marvel, July 1975), script by Jean Thomas, pencils by Win Mortimer, inks by Mike Esposito and Tony Mortellaro, letters by Artie Simek

The 1978 2017 Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar: April All Together Now

Hey, look, it's everybody from the Spider-Universe all together at one time! Except for the written-out-of-canon Spider-Mite! Also, Spider-Man himself seems to be missing, and I can't figure out why. More important: ginchy groovy Gwen Stacy, va-va-voom!

"April Is an Assortment of Amiable Associations!" in The Amazing Spider-Man Mighty Marvel Comics Calendar 1978 (1977); pencils by John Romita, Sr., inks by John Verpooten

For those of you new to the Spider-Family or who just need a gentle reminder, that's (L-R), Eugene "Flash" Thompson, Harry Osborn, Gwen Stacy, Aunt Anna Watson, Mary Jane Watson, Aunt May Parker, Peter Parker, Ned "No, I'm not the Hobgoblin, Honestly" Leeds, Betty Brant, Robbie Robertson, J. Jonah Jameson, and J. Jonah Jameson's coat. And they're all standing in front of one of the most important places in the Spider-Books, the venerable Coffee Bean, serving caffeinated drinks pretty much steadily right through now in the Marvel Universe. That remarkable tenure as an anti-Starbucks is even more astonishing when you consider it's been a long-time competition since the early Marvel Age with the X-Men's favorite hangout, Greenwich Village's Coffee A Go-Go. I don't know which one you prefer, so here's some help: Coffee A Go-Go has Bernard the Poet, and the Coffee Bean has Gwen Freakin' Stacy. I hope that settles the matter definitively.

Panel from [Uncanny] X-Men (1963 series) #31 (April 1967), script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Werner Roth, inks by John Tartaglione, letters by Sam Rosen

By the way, are you wondering when Jazzy John Romita "snapped that photograph" so proudly presented in this month's calendar spread? Worried you can't pinpoint exactly when this happens in Spider-Chronology? Fret no more, gentle reader: it occurred during Amazing Spider-Man Annual #4, no doubt right after this pin-up scene! Note the identical outfits! Good golly, that jacket really is hideous, Peter.

Double-page pinup spread from Amazing Spider-Man Annual (1964 series) #4 (November 1967), script by Stan Lee, pencils by Larry Lieber, alternations on Gwen and Mary Jane by John Romita Sr. (and why not?), inks by Mike Esposito, colors by Stan Goldberg (?), letters by Sam Rosen
(Click picture to venti-size)

No, I don't know why Stan's calling it the Coffee Bean Barn here, either.

The 1978 2017 DC Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters: April A-Showering

It's April! (Please, please, just go along with me on this for one more month, huh?) And it looks like Aquaman left his basement faucet on again! Or maybe that's just a April Fool's joke by his brother Waterguy (I think he's called, right?).

"April: Aquaman" in The 1978 Calendar of Super-Spectacular Disasters; artwork by Jim Aparo
(Click picture to deep-end-of-the-pool-size)

What you can't sea (heh heh) is that it's so deep even Aqualad has already drowned! Well, he musta forgot his inflatable water wings. Again. Hope you didn't eat less than an hour ago, Garth! And hey look, just below and to the right of the word "April": gotta be famous Detroit Tigers fan Thomas Magnum!

Also occurin' this month:

It's baseball season! (Over on Earth-Acme, Elmer goes stalking baseballs in the woods with his shotgun.) But this entire month is put on rain delay which means all fans will have to return their complimentary gifts for Aquaman Bobblehead Day! (Let's face it, his Funko Pops figure is lots better.)

Once again, I've filled in the checkmarks accounting for every computer clue we've been given this month, and the readout now looks (beep, blip) like this:

And if you need some extra red herrings, here's this month's Obvious DC Clue™ planted by The Cluemaster, the only supervillain frequently thwarted by his own daughter! He must be the laughing stock of the beer blasts in the cellar of the Legion of Doom headquarters.

Now, figgering out this clue involves all your Pre-Crisis Trivia Knowledge, and to give you a gentle shove over the Clue Cliff I'mma gonna show you the character they're referring to!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Today in Comics History, March 31, 1959: Dr. Benton Quest has just seen the first Iron Man movie

from newuniversal: 1959 #1 (Marvel/New Universe, September 2008), script by Kieron Gillen, pencils and inks by Greg Scott and Kody Chamberlain, colors by Val Staples, letters by Ed Dukeshire

Today in Comics History, March 31, 1986: Subscribers line up in droves to get cheap issues of Cybernauts

Subscription ad from Marvel Comics cover-dated April 1986

365 Days of Defiance, Day 90: Fight On

Panels from DC: The New Frontier #6 (November 2004); script and pencil by Darwyn Cooke, inks by Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone, colors by Dave Stewart, letters by Jared K. Fletcher

Today in Comics History, March 31, 1988: In the New Universe, weeks become days, and they run in reverse

from The Draft one-shot (Marvel/New Universe, July 1988), script by Mark Gruenwald and Fabian Nicieza; pencils by Herb Trimpe; inks by Kyle Baker, Mike Gustovich, Klaus Janson, Lee Weeks, and Keith Williams; colors by Michael Higgins; letters by Jim Novak

Wait, is it March 31 or two weeks before March 29?!? The world may never know, but this panel would be correct if the caption read March 15 or thereabouts.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 89: You Work for Me

Panels from Dark Reign: The List: Amazing Spider-Man one-shot (January 2010), script by Dan Slott, pencils by Adam Kubert, inks by Mark Morales, colors by Dean White, letters by Joe Caramagna

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 88: I thought you could maybe use this today

Panels from The Adventures of Captain America #1 (September 1991); script by Fabian Nicieza; pencils by Kevin Maguire; inks by Joe Rubinstein; colors by Paul Mounts; letters by Richard Starkings

Four issues later...

Panels from The Adventures of Captain America #4 (January 1992); script by Fabian Nicieza; pencils by Kevin Maguire, Steve Carr, and Kevin West; inks by Terry Austin; colors by Paul Mounts; letters by Richard Starkings

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 87: Stop Admiring Force

Flash! Ah-uh, no, that's the wrong one. Here's Jay Garrick, the Golden Age Flash, champion of Earth when he and his friends are kidnapped to an alien planet to serve as gladiators in the space-pits!

Panels from "The Planet of Sport" in All-Flash #31 (October-November 1947), script by Robert Kanigher, pencils and inks by Everett E. Hibbard

Say, does the Flash ever, ever, ever, give up?

No! the Flash never, never, never gives up! (Aw, you shoulda guessed that.)

Also you guys: STOP ADMIRING FORCE. That's a great message for today, too. Thanks, Golden Age Flash!

Monday, March 27, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 86: We got a right to start a little fight

Bonanza! The long-running saga of homesteader and patriarch Ben "Adama" Cartwright and his three sons Screwy, Buoy, and Ratatouille, riding the range and setting maps on fire! And I think they have some cows, too. Also: making certain that righteousness and social justice are shotgunned all over the Ollllld West!

Panels from Bonanza (1962 series) #01070-207 (Dell, May-July 1962), script by Gaylord Du Bois, pencils and inks by Tom Gill

A Native American is framed for the attempted murder of a doctor in a hotel room in the Old West, but while everyone from the Sheriff to the Town Drunk™ is eager and ready to hang Charles Red Deer, keen observer of human events and frontier dad Ben Cartwright knows better, and not just about Alpo dog food.

Confronting the rabid lynch mob of the Old West, Ben and sons (Charles Ingalls, Trapper John Sr., and...well, Hoss) immediately spring to the defense of the sixth and fourteenth amendments and especially the very sounds-like-a-case-of-the-Old-West Coffin v. United States, which established the presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In a land of frontier two-gun justice of the Old West, this is as radical a concept as giving a Native American man the same rights as a white man. But Cartwright, as we have seen for fourteen rip-raoring seasons on NBC, is a champion of right and equality. Especially when the Cartwrights get to express those views by pointing their big-ass guns of the Old West.

Cartwright hears the evidence and agrees that Red Deer can be taken into custody as a material witness. he makes the town constable promise to keep Red Deer safe and protected from lynch mobs.

Of course in the very next scene the townspeople form a lynch mob. Geez, the American Constitution just isn't good enough for you people, huh?

YAY DAN BLOCKER personally I would read an entire Silver Age series of Dan Blocker punching a-holes. And then all heck of the Old West breaks out:

The Cartwrights get Red Deer safely away to the Ponderosa (your steak grilled to order and all the baked potatoes you can eat for $7.99) while Ben returns to the scene of the crime of the Old West just in time to catch the true attempted murderer, the son of Dennis Moore (Dennis Moore: galloping through the sward)

So you see, justice on the frontier doesn't always have to end with a rope slung over a tree, thanks to the forward-looking sensibilities and beliefs of the Cartwright family. Ben raised 'em right, to defend the weak, to fight for the people, and to always seek the truth...of the Ollllllllld West.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 85: Just a man with a man's courage

Panels from King: Flash Gordon #3 (April 2015), script by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, pencils by Lee Ferguson, inks by Lee Ferguson and Marc Deering, colors by Omi Remalante, letters by Simon Bowland